Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

James H. Little

JAMES H. LITTLE. It is peculiarly true that business and professional men whose private interests have been signally advanced by the support of those with whom they reside and labor owe the public, or the people as a whole, a fair share of their time, energies and ability. Such men as James H. Little, of LaCrosse, have the sense of justice to recognize that fact, so that while he has prospered individually he has evened up the score to a certain extent by devoting considerably of his time to public affairs.

Mr. Little is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, where he was born July 24, 1863. The family is of English stock, its American founders coming to the Old Bay State in colonial times. Albert Little, the father of James H., married Miss Helen Dunham, also of old England and New England ancestry, and was for many years a Boston merchant. The boy developed amid such circumstances, was educated in the Newton, Massachusetts, schools and trained during youth and early manhood in a drygoods store. Mr. Little then came west to Kansas, tarried for a time at Anthony, Harper County, and was there engaged in making up a set of abstract books. That occupation launched him into a long career. In January, 1886, he was sent to LaCrosse by a mortgage company engaged in the loan business, and was thus employed as long as the concern was in existence. He began abstracting early at LaCrosse, and also engaged in the real estate business, continuing in both of these fields to the present.

As a real estate dealer Mr. Little has bought and sold lands for himself, has sold on commission and handled lands of non-residents, and has even done considerable farming along this line. Among the most important of his transactions was the handling of the Union Pacific Railroad lands when they were being marketed at LaCrosse. He finally completed the only set of abstracts written in Rush County, and disposed of them only a few years ago.

Mr. Little found LaCrosse a mere village of wooden buildings when he came to it in 1886, and the mails came from Hays City and Great Bend. He served on the City Council, and later was elected mayor of the city, serving two terms. The chief feature of his administration was the enforcement of the prohibitory law, in the face of violent opposition from the joint keepers and their supporters. After an interim of a few years in 1902 he was re-elected mayor and served a third term. At the present time he has been a member of the City Council for four years, and for nine years has been a member of the LaCrosse School Board. He has been president of the Commercial Club and was identified with the establishment of a city lighting plant. Mr. Little was also one of the strongest leaders who fought to carry the bonds of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and sturdily backed LaCrosse in her county seat fight against Rush Center. He was a member of the body of 300 men who went from LaCrosse to Rush Center with an order of the Supreme Court and brought back the county records after they had rested at the Center for some ten days. Finally he was identified with the election which located the court house at La Crosse, and voted the bonds for the building and saw the situation settle down to normal life.

Politically Mr. Little has always been a republican, casting his first vote for Blaine while a resident of Harper County, Kansas. Although reared under Congregational teachings, since coming to Kansas he has been a member of the United Brethren Church. He was elected superintendent of the local Sabbath school of that denomination in 1890, and is still at the head of the largest organization of that character in Rush County. For eighteen years he has also been a member of the executive committee of the State Sunday School Association, serving one year as its president.

Mr. Little married in Rush County, July 10, 1888, Miss Flora Wellman, a native of Illinois and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Wellman. The issue of that marriage are Helen D., who after graduating from the LaCrosse High School took a course in the Saline Business College, and is her father's stenographer; Eva A., a student in the Emerson School of Oratory, Boston, who is also a graduate of the LaCrosse High School. Both Mr. and Mrs. Little have shown much interest in Kansas literature and are life members of the State Historical Society.

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